Saturday, February 23, 2013

Injunction to block Congress from getting paid during Sequestration

Injunction to block Congress from getting paid during Sequestration
By: Aaron M. Laxton, HIV-Infected Queer, Activist & Blogger

In 6 days across-the-board cuts will go into effect as a result of President Obama and Congress failing to reach a deal regarding the debt ceiling. With the fiscal crisis looming on the horizon Congress is on vacation. It must be nice to get an approximate $175,000 annual salary for what amounts to a part time job. 

The sequester was originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), also known as the debt ceiling compromise. It was intended to serve as incentive for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the "Supercommittee" to come to a deal to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If the committee had done so, and Congress had passed it by Dec. 23, 2011, then the sequester would have been averted. A deal was not reached and we are now staring sequestration directly in the face. 

What is going to be cut?

  • Domestic $42.7 billion (7.9 percent)
  • Defense Programs $28.7 billion (5.3 percent)
  • Mandatory $4 billion (5.8 percent non defense/7.8 defense)
  • Discretionary Spending 
  • Medicare $9.9 billion (2 percent)
The effect of sequestration will reduce the scale and scope of existing programs. Below is a list of programs that will be impacted:
  • Aircraft purchases by the Air Force and Navy will be cut by $3.5 billion
  • Military operations across the services will be cut about $13.5 billion
  • Military research will be cut by $6.3 billion
  • The National Institute of Health will be cut by $1.6 billion
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be reduced by $323 million
  • Border security reduced by about $581 million
  • Immigration enforcement to be cut by $323 million
  • Airport security reduced by $323 million
  • Head Startcut by $406 million- kicking 70,000 kids out of program
  • FEMA cut by $375 million
  • Public housing support slashed by $1.94 billion 
  • FDA to be automatically reduced by $206 million
  • NASA cut by $970 million
  • Special education will be gutted by $840 million
  • Energy Dept. program to secure our nukes cut by $650 million
  • National Science Foundation cut by $388 million
  • FBI reduced by $480 million
  • Federal Prison system to be cut by $355 million
  • State Dept. diplomatic functions will be cut by $650 million
  • Global health programs to be cut by $433 million
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission cut by $55 million
During the sequester military service members will also see their benefits reduced however they will still get paid. Additionally federal employees will not see their salaries cut since Congress wrote a clause in that states, "a sequester may not reduce or have the effect of reducing the rate of pay an employee is entitled to." 

That means that Congress will continue to get paid although no work has been done or is currently being done. It is my belief that an injunction needs to be issued through Federal Court blocking Congress from getting paid during the sequester. Why should the citizens of the United States burden the consequences of Congress inability to reach a deal to avert the debt crisis?  

I urge each of you in the very strongest way to contact your representative in Congress and place pressure on them to actually do their job and reach a deal to avoid sequestration. It is my opinion that the entire administration and congress should not adjourn until a deal is reached.
Use the links below to determine who your member of congress is and how to contact them today.
Tips On Telephoning Your Elected Representatives

To find your senators' and representative's phone numbers, you may use our searchable online congressional directory or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office.
Remember that telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress. Ask to speak with the aide who handles the issue about which you wish to comment.
After identifying yourself, tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: "Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) that I support/oppose (S.___/H.R.___)."
You will also want to state reasons for your support or opposition to the bill. Ask for your senators' or representative's position on the bill. You may also request a written response to your telephone call.

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